Reading Man Jailed up to 46 Years for Sexual Abuse of Child; Charged after Grand Jury Investigation of Jehovah’s Witnesses Congregation Members

July 3, 2024 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Michelle Henry announced that a Reading man will serve 14 to 46 years in prison for repeated sexual assaults of a girl, starting more than 20 years ago.

Luis Manuel Ayala-Velasquez, 56, was arrested last year after a grand jury investigation where sexual assault charges were recommended against more than a dozen members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith.

Ayala-Velasquez pleaded guilty earlier this year to five felony counts, including rape of an unconscious person. He was sentenced Wednesday in Northampton County Court. Following release from prison, Ayala-Velasquez must register his whereabouts as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

“The courageous victims who came forward and told the grand jurors their horrific stories of abuse led to charges against predatory defendants,” Attorney General Henry said. “The abuse in this case began decades ago, but the brave victim and the diligent efforts of OAG agents and attorneys ensured that justice was served and, at long last, the defendant was held accountable.”

The charges stem from the 49th Investigating Grand Jury and were filed and prosecuted by the Office of Attorney General.

The crimes happened at Ayala-Velasquez’s home in Bethlehem, beginning around 2001, and later when the victim was an adult. Ayala-Velasquez assaulted the victim while she was sleeping.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Michelle Laucella prosecuted the case.

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